The Justice Department should not avoid prosecuting Donald Trump in relation to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack if a prosecution is warranted, Rep. Liz Cheney said in an interview with ABC News’ “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl.
While bringing charges against the former president — who may challenge President Joe Biden in 2024 — would be unprecedented and “difficult” for the country, not doing so would support a “much graver constitutional threat,” Cheney said Wednesday in an interview at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library that aired Sunday on “This Week.”
“Are you worried about what that means for the country, to [see] a former president prosecuted? A former president who was a likely candidate; who may in fact be running for president against Biden?” Karl asked Cheney.
“I think it’s a much graver constitutional threat if a president can engage in these kinds of activities, and the majority of the president’s party looks away; or we as a country decide we’re not actually going to take our constitutional obligations seriously,” Cheney said. “I think that’s a much, a much more serious threat.”
“I really believe we have to make these decisions, as difficult as it is, apart from politics. We really have to think about these from the perspective of: What does it mean for the country?” she said.
The Wyoming Republican told Karl she was “absolutely confident” in Cassidy Hutchinson’s startling testimony last week during a surprise hearing by the House’s Jan. 6 committee, which Cheney vice-chairs.
“She’s an incredibly brave young woman,” Cheney said of Hutchinson.
On Tuesday, the former aide to Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows testified that she was told Trump was verbally aggressive with Secret Service agents and lunged for the steering wheel of his vehicle after learning he was not going to the Capitol after his rally on Jan. 6, 2021.
Hutchinson said Tony Ornato, a Secret Service agent and Trump deputy chief of staff, told her as much not long after the incident that same day. Hutchinson’s account has drawn significant attention and push-back from Trump.
“What Ms. Hutchinson testified to was a conversation that she was part of with Mr. Ornato and which Mr. Engel [a Secret Service agent] was present, where they detailed what happened in the limousine,” Cheney said.
“Do you have any evidence other than Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony to corroborate what she said happened in that presidential motorcade?” Karl asked Cheney.
“The committee has significant evidence about a whole range of issues, including the president’s intense anger,” Cheney responded.